With society’s increasing focus on looks, from the rise of the selfie and social media sites like Instagram to the increase in the number of anti-aging treatments available, you might begin to wonder if you should start worrying about the signs of aging on your face, even if you’re still in your 20s.
While a 25 year old will most likely not be considering the same treatments as someone significantly older — you need to have some sagging and loose skin to benefit from surgeries such as facelifts, and you can’t fill in wrinkles that don’t exist yet — there are some things you can do to protect your skin and start the anti-aging process, before you turn 30.
An Ounce of Prevention…
In your 20s, one great way to look at fighting the signs of aging is through the lens of prevention. You can’t stop the clock. But, you can limit the external factors that speed up signs of aging. For example, one of the best things you can do is learn to limit sun exposure as much as you can.
That doesn’t mean that beach trips have to be taken off of your agenda or that you have to start living like a vampire. What it does mean is that you want to up your game when it comes to using sunscreen.
Pick a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and that contains an SPF of at least 30. Apply it to your face, neck and hands, and any other exposed areas of skin before leaving your house. Then, apply it again every few hours throughout the day. If you are on a beach trip, try to reapply every hour or so, especially if you’ve been swimming or running about.
Another preventative anti-aging measure you can take in your 20s is to give up smoking. Like the sun, smoking is another major cause of signs of aging. It messes with your blood flow, which can lead to the development of wrinkles earlier on.
Cleanse and Exfoliate
If you haven’t already gotten into a good skincare routine, your 20s is the time to start. Or, if you’re used to using a super strong acne fighting cleanser, your 20s might be the time to dial things back a bit, especially if your facial skin feels tight and dry after you wash it.
Get in the habit of washing your face twice a day, to remove any dirt and grime that’s built up during the day or overnight. Choosing a cleanser that works for you can take a bit of trial and error. Some might be too gentle and won’t help you if you’re still dealing with pimples and break-outs, for example. Speaking with an anti-aging specialist about your particular concerns and issues can help you find the cleanser that suits you best.
Along with cleansing regularly, you also want to make more of an effort to exfoliate on a regular basis in your 20s. A mild chemical peel from time to time can be helpful in that it removes the top layer of skin cells, but isn’t too intense or deep for skin that is still pretty young and fresh.
Pick Ingredients Carefully
There are a slew of anti-aging ingredients out there and figuring out which ones are good for you as a relatively young person and which can be irritating or harmful can be tricky. You might want to start using a product that contains retinol, which helps fight wrinkles and is also helpful against acne, in your 20s. But if your skin is on the sensitive side, you might find that it’s too harsh or irritating. Starting out slowly, using the product just a few times a week might help your skin adjust to it. As you get older, you can begin to use a product with retinol more frequently.
What About Botox?
Another way to prevent the signs of aging from becoming too visible or too severe is to put a stop to them before they have a chance to become worse. While many people think of Botox injections as something to consider once they’ve reached the age of 40, it’s possible that the injections can benefit younger people, including those who are still in their 20s.
If you’re beginning to notice the formation of frown lines or crow’s feet, receiving Botox injections can help reduce the appearance of those lines. In some cases, treating the lines early on can keep them from becoming worse as you get older.
Botox isn’t suitable for everyone, though. Your surgeon will most likely not recommend it if you don’t actually have any visible lines, for example. It’s also not suitable for all types of wrinkles or lines, only those created by movements.
It’s never too early to start thinking about anti-aging. Just make sure your treatments and products are age appropriate. If you need help making sense of your options, Dr. Jessica Kulak, an anti-aging facial specialist practicing in Virginia and Maryland, is happy to help. Call (301) 222-2020 for an appointment in Maryland or (703) 481-0002 for an appointment in Virginia.